A LOCAL’S GUIDE TO BYRON: Helen Blair / Savvy Wed

THE TIME BETWEEN SAYING 'YES' TO THE "WILL YOU MARRY ME?" QUESTION AND SIPPING ON THE FIRST GLASS OF CHAMPAGNE AT YOUR WEDDING RECEPTION CAN BE FRAUGHT.

And sometimes even more so if you opt for a destination wedding.  There’s just so much to think about and organise, and then there’s the tyranny of distance.  It’s what prompted long-time Byron local Helen Blair to set up Savvy Wed which ‘connects the dots between standout destination venues and premium suppliers in Byron Bay, to turn wedding dreams into a reality.’

After years of travelling the world and then three years in Melbourne, the attraction of raising a family in a warmer climate and close to the beach saw Helen, husband Joe and their baby son, Harry, move to Byron Bay 15 years ago.  They’ve since welcomed Mabel and Billie to the family, and turned a passion for marketing and all things wedding and events, into Savvy Wed.

“I absolutely love my work and I have the best team in the world,” she says. “They inspire me and make me laugh on a daily basis - it’s like having an extended family.”

Hospitality is also in her blood.  On both sides of the bar, and she’s very much a glass half full person. Her happy place is at home with her family, taking to the tennis court, swimming in the ocean, walking to the lighthouse… or at the bar. And still travelling of course when time permits.

Share our chat with this savvy lady and why she loves calling Byron home.


WHAT IS YOUR BUSINESS ABOUT?

Savvy Wed was born from the need to make things easy for your wedding day, especially for anyone who is time poor yet still deservedly want the best, which of course is most people. Essentially, Savvy Wed have done all the hard work, putting together wedding packages which require limited extra planning or decisions, while guaranteeing a day in which their family and friends will talk about for years to come. Our wedding packages can be booked within 12-month timeline at a selection of Byron Bay’s most standout, luxury venues. Our packages include a choice of only the most talented suppliers in Byron Bay, built from a long history in the local wedding industry.

Our prime offering is All-inclusive Destination Wedding Packages, currently based in Byron Bay, with plans to expand in new areas by the end of this year.

Our aim is to make planning your wedding an easy, stress-free process, teamed with a comfortable payment plan. You can think of it as “Wedding Afterpay”, although payments are split into 3-month slots between the time of booking and your wedding day.

We are able to exclusively offer a limited number of dates at some of the most spectacular venues in the area. We work to a 12-month timeline, meaning you can tie the knot within a year of getting engaged, without any compromise on your dream day – we’re basically proving that planning a destination wedding doesn’t have to be as drawn out as you may think!

Our dedicated planners will make sure everything goes according to plan, so you can relish in spending time with your family and friends. Enjoy every moment, knowing every detail is taken care of.

How long have you been a Byron local?

My husband and I moved to Byron Bay 15 years ago.

What drew you to the area and what do you love about living here?

The weather, the ocean, the general relaxed vibe, the locally grown food, the natural approach to life and parenting, good friends.

Gaz and V from ‘Style Surfing’ were the first people we met, who introduced us to the area. It’s no surprise we bought a house just around the corner from them 15 years ago. We fell in love with the area because we knew our kids could grow up in an amazing neighbourhood, jump the fence to the neighbouring houses, pool hop from one house to the next with neighbourhood kids, be on the beach within 3 minutes of our house and surf with their friends every day. The ultimate childhood.

How has Byron influenced your style and lifestyle?

My style has become much more relaxed and natural since living in Byron Bay. My lifestyle however has always been one hundred miles an hour trying to fit too much into a week as possible, which for me isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Wherever you live, I think same rules apply when it comes to work and family life. Life is busy and there’s a real buzz to Byron Bay which I think creates a lot of energy for life!

IN BYRON, YOUR FAVE PLACE FOR …

Brunch? 

Bayleaf

A healthy cheap takeaway?

Anything from Folk or Butcher and Cook

A not-so-healthy but super tasty meal?

Burger and fries at the Sticky Wicket washed down with a Caesar (Canadian Bloody Mary!)

Fancy dinner to impress?

A La Carte at The Fig Tree

A cocktail?

Hemingway Daquiri at The Loft, Mez Club or Bolt Hole

Date night?

At home with my husband cooking! Or Jonsons Italian Bar on the main street is our current favourite. It's always great option with the kids too. 

WHERE DO YOU GO TO …

To find a last minute outfit? Enzo and Toto

Get your hair done? Sinead at The Edge or Edwards and Co in the Industrial Estate

Get your nails and beauty maintenance done? Nail Bar Cafe on Byron Street for a super quick mani & pedi! Little Company is great for a pamper or facial.

Buy something for your home?

Newrybar Merchants

Pick up your favourite market finds? 

Every Thursday at the Byron Bay Farmers market. I have been going there since it started. My latest fav finds were Grumpy Grandmas amazing lemon myrtle olive oil, the miso soup from Okonomi Yaki (Ebi Ya Kitchen) and the damson plum sweet chilli sauce from the macadamia stall. The list could go on!

Get out of Byron for a day trip?

Shelley Beach, East Ballina has always been one of our favourites.

THE BEST… 

Coffee spot and what to order?

Flat white from Sparrow

Bar for a Sunday session?

The Bangalow Pub, the closest to an old English pub

Places to eat with the girls?

The Loft or Mez Club

Outdoor places to workout?

Walking along Tallows beach or up the Lighthouse

Gyms/fitness studios?

The Byron Bay tennis courts are my fitness go-to. I often jump in one of their Ladies Clinics on a Tuesday or Thursday morning, or hire a court with friends for an hour. I also love hitting the Byron Bay Golf Club - another favourite spot. Their course is fantastic for all levels and always makes a great day out with friends and/or family.

Local beach?

Captain Cooks, Clarkes Beach

Finish this sentence. You know you’re a Byron local when… 

You get to the supermarket and realise you’re not wearing any shoes!

Something only a Byron local would know…

The back ways to cut through peak hour traffic, and quiet spots to avoid the crowds when town is busy!  And, without a doubt, August is the best month of the year in Byron Bay with the lowest rainfall and crisp blue sky days. It also happens to be my birthday month! 

Your best tip for someone holidaying in Byron…

Look after the Bay, clean up as you go. Byron Bay is a special place and should be respected.

A quintessential Byron outfit that you should pack for your holiday…

Swimmers, sunhat and thongs… because that’s all you need!

What does a typical day look like to you?

My day begins with a cup of tea in bed delivered by my husband. After dropping the kids to school, I commute out to Fig Tree Restaurant in Ewingsdale (the best office in the world!), working through my head what lays ahead. I spend the day working with my amazing team overseeing the planning of weddings and other events, as well as all thing marketing and sales. After work straight to running the kids to their various activities, dinner with the fam, and an early night... Repeat.

How do you start your week?

Depending how full on the weekend’s social scene has been, I try and start with a walk up to the lighthouse.

How do you finish your week?

With an ice-cold beer and movie night with the kids.

What’s one lesson your business has taught you about life?

How to get things done as efficiently as possible so an equal amount of time can be shared with my family.

Describe your work place.

Fun, inspirational and with arguably, one of the best views in the world.

Best downtime pursuit?

Floating in the ocean, walking on the beach, catching up with friends and drinking daiquiris. Yum!